Ask me about power
and I'll tell you cigar smoke,
the way it darkens like a thunderhead
or curls thin as an assassin's wire.
I'll tell you how smoke
sticks to your flesh
for the length of a career,
and I'll tell you about the day
the Chairman of Psychiatry
gathered us in a conference room,
pulled a Havana from his pocket,
chewed the end, and blew
each long drag in the patient's face
shouting, "Are you crazy?"
as if the man could remove an electrode
planted in his brain by the FBI.
And when the patient finally cried,
the Chairman turned
to his audience of students and residents,
took the cigar from his mouth,
and examined it like a surgical instrument,
slime at one end, the tip burning red.
He smiled at the cigar, chomped down,
took another suck.